Tips to Identify an Abusive Relationship
Most of us are very clear about what our reactions would be if a partner or potential partner tried to bully, control or abuse us. We would refuse to continue along those lines, maybe even end the relationship; we may perhaps suggest hypnotherapy in order for them to deal with their issues, decide to work on our own self-esteem and confidence, consider couples counselling or mediation. There could potentially be several options that we would consider if we were to find ourselves in an abusive relationship.
And yet how seductive can it be when an attractive, charismatic person promises to sweep us off our feet, take care of us, look after all our needs and remove all the stress from our lives, especially if we've been on our own a while or had previous bad experiences?
The truth is, abuse is often a very slow burn as the abuser gradually, slowly, systematically inculcates themselves into our lives and our affections.
Let's look at some of the tips to identify an abusive relationship which should trigger an alarm:
- All suggestions 'for our improvement' are claimed to be done out of love and a desire to make us a better person. So when an eyebrow is raised or a negative, sarcastic comment is made about our haircut, an outfit we've bought or are wanting to wear, an opinion we may offer, or a place that we want to visit with friends, it's claimed to be done for our benefit rather than to make us feel upset, inferior or inadequate.
- There's a concerted effort to alienate us from friends and family. This may be justified on the pretext that they're a bad influence or our partner wants to spend private time with us or that there's simply something else/better that he/she feels we should be doing together.
- Finances are often taken out of our hands because they're 'too complicated' - we 'don't need to worry our heads' about them. This control may gradually result in us not having a clue about the state of our finances, how much debt or savings there are. We may receive an allowance, have to ask for the money we need or account for any spending we make.
- Independence is often slowly discouraged. We're told we don't need to work, try for promotion, take on more responsibility. Often an abuser will have several valid reasons for this; the house needs work doing on it, he/she likes to take plenty of holidays or book them at short notice. They may say, 'take your time, there's no rush, have a break, consider your options', which may be lovely for a while but can slowly erode our desire to work, reduce our experience, contacts and ultimately our confidence in our abilities.
- Constant monitoring is often a significant part of abuse; how we spend our money, who we've called or texted, where we've spent our time. An abuser may expect us to answer their calls immediately, be at home whenever they turn up, often unexpectedly. They may check our mileage, bank statement, phone bills.
- Increasing control over sexual practices can become an unpleasant part of an abuser's behaviour, forcing us to do things we don't want, like or feel comfortable with, accusing us of being frigid or a prude if we don't agree, maybe threatening to go elsewhere.
If we become aware of an escalating pattern of bullying and abuse in our partner's behaviour it's important to try to bring it out into the open, to challenge it, reflect it back to them.
Some options may be:
- Discussing their behaviour may jolt them into realising what they're doing, how they're behaving. However, often an abuser is intelligent and adept at their use of language. 'You're too sensitive, where's your sense of humour, I care about you, it's for your own good' can all serve to deflect attention away from their own abusive behaviour.
- If they do recognise that they need to address their behaviour hypnotherapy can be an effective means of dealing with their underlying patterns and triggers. It can also help them become more confident so that they don't need to dominate others in order to feel good about themselves.
- We also need to maintain our own identity, self-esteem and independence. Hypnotherapy can help us to recognise any personal traits or responses that may be fuelling our partner's abusive behaviour. Are we needy, afraid of being on our own? Do we look to rescue and save damaged people? Do we feel we deserve to be treated badly, or are not worthy of being treated well? Hypnotherapy can help us come to terms with our issues and heal any underlying factors that need dealing with.
Then we can become strong, confident and balanced, able to decide on the best, most healthy and positive way forward for ourselves, whether it be in or out of the relationship.
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